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Venezuela’s inflation soaring above 60 percent has boosted pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to speed up a transition toward a market-driven economy as the OPEC nation’s model of state-controlled socialism heads toward stagflation. Sky-rocketing consumer prices and shortages of nearly a third of basic goods have helped push Maduro’s approval rating to 37 percent and weakened his standing as the heir to the wildly popular late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. The central bank blamed May’s 5.7 percent inflation reading on three months of opposition protests, but economists say the true culprit is a doubling of the money supply since the start of last year and a 17 percent increase this year.



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